UPCOMING EVENT: FLW SERIES - 2020 - Toledo Bend Lake

Folkestad unlocks tricky Clear Lake puzzle

Folkestad unlocks tricky Clear Lake puzzle
Pro Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif., used a 26-pound, 12-ounce sack to grab the overall lead on Clear Lake.

LAKEPORT, Calif. - With a determined cold front serving as a wet blanket for veteran and novice anglers alike, Clear Lake responded in kind, producing an uncharacteristically stingy bounty during the opening day of Stren Series Western Division competition. The upshot: The big weights that anglers had been looking forward to for months never materialized. Fifteen-pound fish? Forget about it. How about some 12-pounders? Not a chance. In fact, when all was said and done, Clear Lake didn't yield even one solitary bass weighing 10 pounds or more.

But that did not deter Mike Folkestad of Yorba Linda, Calif., a veteran angling juggernaut and fixture on the Western Division circuit for years. Using a combination of Berkley baits (he wouldn't divulge specifics) and targeting deep-water breaks in about 15 feet of water, Folkestad reeled in the most impressive treasure trove of the entire field - a 26-pound, 12-ounce sack, which included a 9-pound, 8-ounce lunker that represents the largest largemouth of the competition to date.

"Yeah, I had a great day," said Folkestad. "I couldn't do anything wrong. The last few practice days for me were really great, and I thought I'd do well today, but not 26 pounds. I thought maybe 18 or 19 pounds. So, overall, it was a good day."

Boater congestion could be an issue during tomorrowHowever, Folkestad also sees plenty of pitfalls ahead despite his stranglehold in the standings. For starters, the weather service is predicting rain and thunderstorms for the next several days. Then there are the cooler-than-usual temperatures to deal with, not to mention the gusting winds. And finally, due to the large runoff coming from the hills, a great deal of the lake is completely muddied up, which forces many anglers to compete for the same locations.

"The lake is getting awful crowded right now," said Folkestad. "There are bunches of places I want to fish but just can't get on. The north end of the lake is really muddy, and that's leading to crowding in the south end."

But the California native also realizes that no matter how difficult the conditions are, the rest of the field is playing catch-up right now.

"I just need to catch enough to make the cut tomorrow; that's the most important thing," he said. "I think if I can get about 10 pounds, I should be in good shape."

Lyon, McDaniel tie for second

Pro Dean McDaniel of Sacramento, Calif., also had a share of second place.While Folkestad laid sole claim to first place, the battle for second place was a little more scrambled. By the end of today's weigh-in, two anglers - Jim Lyon of Reno, Nev., and Dean McDaniel of Sacramento, Calif. - had a share of second place after they produced identical 24-pound, 10-ounce stringers.

Pro Gary Dobyns of Yuba City, Calif., was in fourth place after netting a 22-pound, 10 ounce stringer.Meanwhile, fourth place belonged to another perennial Western Division powerhouse in the form of Gary Dobyns - the one angler that nobody in the field wants to see creeping around the leaderboard due to his storied bass-fishing track record out West.

"Today beat any practice day I had all week," said Dobyns, who ultimately netted a 22-pound, 10-ounce stringer to remain within striking distance of first place. "I just got lucky today, I really did."

Richard Smith of Santa Clarita, Calif., grabbed hold of fifth place with a 20-pound, 8-ounce stringer - representing one of only five anglers in the entire tournament so far to record a weight over 20 pounds.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 pro leaders at the Stren Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Shane McAfee of Salmon, Idaho, 19-1
7th: Brett Davies of Sacramento, Calif., 18-14
8th: Mark Hiser of Cottonwood, Calif., 18-12
9th: Jim Jeffords of Tualatin, Ore., 18-11
10th: Ronald Hammett of Alpine, Calif., 18-1

Morgan snares co-angler lead

Shane Morgan of Palmdale, Calif., turned in the most impressive performance of the day from the back of the boat. Shane Morgan of Palmdale, Calif., turned in the most impressive performance of the day from the back of the boat. While he didn't land any huge fish, his 16-pound, 9-ounce stringer was good enough to grab the overall lead in the Co-angler Division.

However, that lead couldn't have been that comforting, given the reality that Kyle Clement is breathing down his back in second place with a nearly as impressive 16-pound, 1-ounce catch. While an 8-ounce difference between the two front-runners is negligible, the fact that Clement of Anderson, Calif., is the reigning 2005 Stren Series Clear Lake champion from the Co-angler Division should put the rest of the field on notice.

Brett Baldwin of Horseshoe Bend, Idaho, used a 15-pound, 13-ounce catch to claim third place, while Charlie Crawford of Peoria, Ariz., grabbed fourth place with 15 pounds, 12 ounces.

In fifth place was Douglas Davis of New Castle, Colo., with a catch of 14 pounds, 13 ounces.

Best of the rest

Rounding out the top 10 co-angler leaders at the Stren Series Clear Lake event:

6th: Ron Mace of Las Vegas, 14-11
7th: Jeff Grant of La Mirada, Calif., 14-10
8th: Paul Bailey of Agoura Hills, Calif., 14-7
8th: Jason Billmaier of Las Vegas, 14-7
8th: Mike Nichelini of Napa, Calif., 14-7

Day two of Stren Series action on Clear Lake continues at Thursday's takeoff, scheduled to take place at 7 a.m. PST at Konocti Vista Casino Resort and Marina, located at 2755 Mission Rancheria Road in Lakeport, Calif.

Tags: gary-mortenson  headline-story  2006-03-01-clear-lake 

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